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Lola Kirke stands out like a flash of neon magenta in this nostalgic landscape of Americana tin-types. While many of her singing, songwriting peers look further back for inspiration, Kirke’s sweet spot is decidedly in the excess of the 80’s. Anyone only familiar with Kirke through her on-screen performances (Mistress America, Gone Girl, or Mozart In The Jungle) may be surprised by just how dazzling Lola-playing-Lola can be.
There is a cult-like fascination growing around Kassi Valazza following the self-release of her 2019 debut album Dear Dead Days and her surprise 2022 EP Highway Sounds. She is seated squarely at the vanguard of new American songwriters strengthening and broadening the sound of country music as she tours with celebrated acts such as Melissa Carper and Riddy Arman. The Southwestern native resides in Portland, a hotbed of songwriters producing albums that both bear the torch and bend the arc of American roots music, where she recently signed with Fluff & Gravy Records — a label known for launching Anna Tivel and Margo Cilker.
Valazza’s forthcoming new album Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing is a spellbinding collection of songs that dangle like protective magic talismans, catching dreams and glinting light. She hypnotizes listeners with a sturdy, yet gentle, voice and painterly songwriting imbued with an independent spirit. Though her music plays country cousin to British folk, calling to mind greats like Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention) and Karen Dalton, a Southwestern American streak carves its way through these solemn, sweetly sung melodies like a canyon.